The other day I strolled up to my lovely wife and said, “I just beat the computer at chess, playing white, for the first time at level six.”
Her reaction wasn’t exactly what I had hoped.
“Jesus Christ,” she said. “You’re getting into chess now, too?”
Click here for an expertly annotated game I played recently. Actually, it’s very advanced stuff. Never mind. Don’t click this link. You can’t handle the link!
Uh oh. Somehow I just found my way to the doghouse. Again.
Back when I was younger, in my 20s I think, I had the luxury of time. Those were the good old days. I can still remember it. I can remember what it was like to have so much time that you could actually feel bored.
Yes, those were the days. You could do crazy things like lay around the house all weekend eating Cheetos and watching all of the U.S. Open from start to finish on a three-day weekend. No, I didn’t like tennis that much, but since I was bored it became something that could be done. I watched a lot of tennis when I was younger. The last ten years of my life? Not so much.
Long story short, back then I had this little Radio Shack chess board. You could play a game of chess against the computer. You’d press your piece into the board to indicate your move and little LED lights would show the computer’s moves. For the hell of it, I decided to see how far I could take it. I started on the lowest level of difficulty and played games alternating white and black. When I won two games in a row I’d move up a level in difficulty. If I lost a game I went down a level in difficulty.
Since I had free time up the ass and I was bored it was no big deal to lay around the house for hours on end playing the computer in chess. I got to learn the way that sucker played. I learned his tricks. I learned the way he thinked. And my chess game improved. I got to where I could consistently beat the thing on the upper levels. But it took a hella investment in time.
But that was then. This is now. And here in the now time is my enemy like you wouldn’t believe.
These days life is lived almost exclusively 24/7 with hair on fire. It’s wake up and do this and that. Then hurry to get to work. Then race home and do the evening routine. Then try to get a few minutes in with the spouse. Then watch TV together. Then go to bed. Repeat.
These days I am never ever bored. My opinion regarding boredom has definitely evolved over time. These days I view it as a decadent luxury. It’s a thing of the past, something reserved for other people.
Being who I am, though, being a curious sort, I can’t help myself from becoming interested in things. Things that take time. This is where I get into a bit of trouble.
Over three years ago a friend talked me into trying World of Warcraft (WOW), something I had resisted successfully until then. Who the hell needs a time suck like that in their life? The William Shatner commercial for WOW on TV didn’t help – it sucked me in hard. I had to get me some of that. My friend dropped out and there I was still playing all by myself. For the win! Two years later and I had a bunch of level 80 characters and my wife hated motherfucking WOW.
Then there was photography, which I’m still very much into, but just taking a little break because of the restraints of time.
And blogging, of course. I’m hard core about the blogging. The decision to write every single day has had a dramatic effect of my life. Everything is a skosh more compressed than it used to be. Free time is even more precious.
Seemingly I’m always on the lookout for the next thing that will suck up my time. Like chess. Meanwhile, I find myself thinking crazy shit like, “I’d like to take guitar lessons” or “I should learn a second language.”
Since I got the iPod other things are creeping in, too. Like a virtual flower garden where I grow flowers from seeds and then email them to my wife. The only problem? She’s mega-pissed that I won’t go help in our real garden. (Real fresh outside air. Danger! Danger!)
Perhaps I’ll even write a book. (Never gonna happen.)
We’re all going to die sometime. It’s only a question of how and when. You will too, Captain. Don’t you feel time gaining on you? It’s like a predator; it’s stalking you. Oh, you can try and outrun it with doctors, medicines, new technologies but in the end, time is going to hunt you down… and make the kill.
–Dr. Soran just before he threw himself into The Nexus
What’s next? And what are your time-crunching diversions?
The Chef’s Pairing for this post has been canceled. It was going to be “I’m a Potato” by Devo but apparently their music is too good to be on the internet where, you know, people might actually listen to it. Instead, please enjoy the Special of the Day made with last week’s ingredients.